Shimla: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today inaugurated the water ATM machine installed at the Ridge, Shimla. Machine will dispense a litre of pure water for meager 50 paise.

The water ATM is first of its kind machine installed in Himachal and will facilitate the local residents and lakhs of tourists.

The water ATM was being installed by M/s Piramal Water Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai under its brand ‘Sarvajal’ on no profit no loss basis through a tripartite MoU signed between this company, I&PH Department and User Agency on Built, Operate, Manage and Maintain (BOMM) basis. This firm had been successfully operating water ATMs in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi on BOMM basis.

The water ATM is fully automated, integrated, purification and dispensing unit and quality assured by real time remote monitoring. It was solar powered, cloud connected and RFID enabled and it was provided on affordable prices of 50 paise per liter and had all time reliable service.

It would also reduce the burden of water borne diseases. The IPH department would provide water access while the Municipal Corporation would provide space for the unit installation.

The Piramal ‘Sarvajal’ would ensure proper operation and maintenance of the integrated water ATM unit and also conduct IEC activities for promoting safe water practices.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the State government had formulated State Water Policy, 2013 which advocated use of water ATMs at places of mass public congregation like temples, major tourist places, fairs etc. so as to cater to the need of quality water to the people.

The Chief Minister also distributed water bottles with ATM to the local school students for the use of purified water.

The State government will installed similar water ATMs machines at Vikas Nagar and old bus stand in Shimla city besides at Chintpurni, Mandi and Dari in Dharamshala on pilot basis.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes, Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, Vice Chairman, Water Management Board Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, Councillors of M.C Shimla, Additional Chief Secretary Vineet Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra, Engineer-in- Chief, I&PH N.L. Sharma, Commissioner, M.C Shimla Amarjeet Singh and other senior officers and prominent persons of the town were present on the occasion.